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Author Topic: Hi All, I'm new.  (Read 5630 times)

Offline BONZER

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Hi All, I'm new.
« on: June 17, 2012, 08:09:43 PM »
I finally found a site for Dodge stuff and have been reading a few articles.  You guys seem to have a cool place to hang out and talk dodge.

I'm 52 now and just mechanically inclined enough to get myself in trouble and also occasionally fix a thing or two. 

I have had a 1993 power ram 3/4 PU for a few years and have stopped daily driving it.  My son and I have started to do some bird hunting and I think I would like to make a few more hunting / trail driving mods.  This truck is an old forestry truck that I got with 60K on the odometer but have since rack up a "few" more.  It is a long bed standard cab with a 5 speed manual w granny and OD.  I think it has a dana 44 in the front although I'm not quite sure how to tell, but I just put in new calipers rotors and pads and came to that conlusion during all that. 

I am thinking about putting 35 inch tires on it w lift kit, adding a shell and maybe fitting the shell to carry a small aluminum boat on the top.

Will this truck handle the tires and lift?
Can I soften the suspension so it doesn't kick my butt so much to drive on the truck trails?  I like going slow and sight seeing - no need to haul butt down the trails.

If this isn't a waste of effort for this vehicle then what size and offset? of rims should I get for it.  I like the BFG ATs and think it would look pretty good w either white spoke rims or maybe black centerline type rims.

Any and all opinions, knowledge or experience are greatly appreciated.

Bonzer

Offline Sten

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Re: Hi All, I'm new.
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2012, 11:10:30 AM »
Hi and welcome to the board.
I have a Ramcharger and they are pretty the same in the ground. I have put up some of the project here on this board http://www.offroadexchange.com/modforums/index.php?topic=566.0 . I'm using 6 inch Skyjacker leafsprings but I should go with 4 inch instead because of the propellershaft angels, and do some fender trimming or a 2 inch bodylift to clear the 35s. Then you have to think about the axle gearratio too, when you put on bigger tires the engine do less revolutions per miles. You didn't wrote about the engine or the gears you have on now but but if you put on too big tires you end up with a truck that are a dog on the road. Here a chart http://www.summitracing.com/expertadvice/storydetail/chartsandguides/RPM-vs-Gear-Ratio-and-Tire-Height/ .

The truck can handle it well. The old tired leaves are propably bent the wrong way in the front as mine was. In the rear can you take out some short leaves from the pack to soften up the rear but I recommend new 4 inch Skyjacker leaves front and rear and they are soft and work well in the terrain.
The BFG AT will give you lot of miles, (MT a little less). With the tires you need a wheel about two inch less than the tire it self so a 12,5 wide tire can use  8 inch (-19mm (-3/4") offset) or a prefable 10 inch (-44mm offset). Here someting to think about and ask if you got questions. /Sten
80 Dodge Ramcharger SE 318 modified
99 Harley Davidson FXSTB Night Train customized
01 Chrysler Sebring 2,7
01 Chrysler Sebring 2,7
93 Chevrolet Corsica 3,1 R.I.P.

Offline Bill Cooke

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Re: Hi All, I'm new.
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2012, 03:42:21 PM »
Welcome to the board. Glad you find us

For your truck let me see if I can offer a few suggestions

First, as Sten said, 4" of suspension lift is a good amount for these trucks. Any more gets into a lot more work and money.

Skyjacker makes the best off the self springs for Old Dodges. Superlift, Tuff Country, Rough Country also make some kits. Skyjackers makes a good, durable and soft spring that lets the suspension travel well but still is very stable on the road and with a load. Custom is obviously the best option but can run up to $2000 to get them all setup. Call Deaver Spring in Santa Ana, CA if that seems like a good option. I've been working with them for years and they are the best! Skyjackers are about half that with all the hardware, brake lines and steering parts.

Fender trimming is almost always the best option for fitting tires over 33". The back of the front fenders can easily loose an inch or more and look even better when done right. The rake angle just looks cool to me. Maybe it's just me... Sten did a great writeup on how to trim fenders.

The best way to improve your ride quality is good shocks. I mean GOOD, not the shocks that come with most lift kits. Bilsteins are a minimum. Fox, King, Sway-A-Way are even better. Stay away from the Parts store type shocks.  Bilstein 5160's are pretty good shocks for the money. They will run circles around anything Rancho makes.

The Borgeson steering shaft is another must have for any Dodge. If your rag joint is OK get the cheaper one. If it's toast think about upgrading the the double U joint shaft. If you have no idea what a rag joint is don't feel bad. It's the rubber disk between the end of the steering column and the steering shaft, it's under the brake master cylinder.

You are going to have to run at least a 16" Diameter wheel with a 3/4 ton dodge front axle. 10" wide is a good width for a 16". 17x9 is very popular as well and gives you a lot more options. Backspacking really isn't much of an option for most wheels. They may make one one size in a 8x6.5 lug pattern. 3.75" back spacing is thought to work about perfect but most wheels are 4, 4.5, 3.5 and so on. Again, there really aren't many options for this. Best to stay away from 16.5" wheels these days. It's getting a lot harder to find tires to fit them.

BFG tires used to be a standard off-road tire for most of us but since they got bought out a few years back things have changed a bit. They just don't last like they used to. A lot of people complain about an annoying "hop" when they wear down. I know, I put them on the wife's Jeep about 50k miles ago and now shake like mad.

Anyone else have a good AT tire in mind? The Yokohama Geolander AT is NOT high on my list.  I hear a lot of poeple like the Toyo truck tires. Anyone try the new Falken tires? Goodyears are always a good bet.

I think that is a good starting point for now. Please post more questions and we'll see what we can do.

Bill Cooke
Jeep is hobby, Dodge is a sickness!

Offline BONZER

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Re: Hi All, I'm new.
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2012, 01:22:00 AM »
Thanks for the advice and info Sten and Bill.

I had looked at the what fits and what hits tables and was thinking that the 4" Skyjacker would be the way to go, so thats good to know that it's a good choice.  It also recommends a 1" body lift to go with it so I'll plan on that also. 

I guess I'll go with the 8" wide rims just cause they'll be lighter than 10 wide rims?  I had heard about the 16.5" rim and tires for them being dropped from production.  Would it be better to have a smaller diameter rim to put more tire between the rim and the ground?  I'll have to check to make sure that 35" tires on 16" rims isn't to oddball or expensive or would you guys recommend I go with 17" rims?   

I don't know what the offset is all about.  Is it how far from the center of the rim that it mounts outside of the centerline of the width?
Is there a way I can find out which rims will work on my truck to make sure that they dont hit something? 

Enough questions for now.  Back to the work week
Take it easy guys.
BONZER

Offline Bill Cooke

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Re: Hi All, I'm new.
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2012, 10:07:45 AM »
The 1" bodylift is perfect for these trucks. It really helps with a lot of stuff when working on the truck down the road. Just make sure you drop the radiator and do not cut the fan shroud.

It seems like 16" rims are on the chopping block soon as well. The common rim these days seems to be 17x9 and it's a good solid choice. A little extra room for the brakes helps them breath a bit better too. With a 35x12.50 tire you can get a little "wiggle" with an 8" rim. The tread just moves ever so slightly from the center line in corners and gives the truck a slight loose feeling compared to a wider rim. 9" to me is the perfect compromise for a 12.5" wide tire.

The offset comments were in response to your original post. I had no idea why you were asking it either but I was trying to be thorough... ;) Most rims are actually listed in back spacing which is the distance from the inside of the rim to the mounting flange. Wide rims with very little backspacing stick out more, put more stress on the wheel bearings and run the fenders a lot more. Again, 3.75 to 4" is perfect and what you'll find on most rims available.

Bill Cooke
Jeep is hobby, Dodge is a sickness!

Offline BONZER

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Re: Hi All, I'm new.
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2012, 11:54:42 PM »
Thanks Bill

That takes a lot of the mystery out of the rims for me.

So if I understand this right - a wider rim will give me better side to side stability?
        Right now I have relatively narrow and tall tires.  I have noticed that if I have to make a quick dodging manuever that the truck yaws sided to side kind of.

It sounds like if I went with a 17 X 10 with a 3.75 preferred or 4" offset that I would get better side to side stability than a 17 X 9.  The reason I am giving this so much consideration is that the truck will also occasionally be used for towing and launching a fishing boat.

With the 35" tires will I have to change gear ratios or can I get away with leaving it.  It looks like the stock tires tape out at 31".

BONZER
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Offline Bill Cooke

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Re: Hi All, I'm new.
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2012, 09:25:14 AM »
Finding a 17X10 could be tricky. I think only Weld Wheels make them and they are spendy. Worth every penny but spendy! It's a true forged wheel and sill act like steel with the weight of aluminum. 2X the money but on a hard core truck it's the difference between walking and driving home.

The 17X9 is a good compromise for both weight and width. A wider rim (10") tends to rub the fenders more and weigh more. The narrower wheel (8") lets the tread shift side to side more and can feel squirmy on the highway. The 9" wheel does not stick out as far and helps keep the tread centered on the tire better. It also weighs less. If you find a wheel you like that is 17x9 you can feel pretty good about it

As for gears.... The rule is Yes, you must change them when you go with that much bigger of a tire. However... You already have 4.10 gears (this being a 3/4 ton truck) so you might be able to get away with it, at least for now. Towing will be hurt a bit but around town or highway with the truck empty will actually improve MPG. You do have an overdrive trans so you can go with a 4.56 or 4.88 gear to get your full towing back.

Wait, you never said what engine you have? Gas or diesel? That makes a big difference.

Also, where in Kali are you? There are a few of us in So Kal.

Bill Cooke
Jeep is hobby, Dodge is a sickness!

Offline hilton8r

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Re: Hi All, I'm new.
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2012, 02:52:02 PM »
Welcom to ORE. Here is a backspacing chart I keep on my computer...

http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j174/hiltman/backspacing_measurements.jpg

There is an ORE member who lives in Victorville that usually has offroad tires for 16.5" rims available. I'll put you in touch with Val if you go that route.

I have 17" Centerline G-2 rims and 37" MTR's on my Ram Charger.

John
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Offline BONZER

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Re: Hi All, I'm new.
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2012, 09:44:19 PM »
Thanks again guys.

Hiltman, that diagram really shows exactly what the offset is, thanks!  I think I am going to look for 17 rims but appreciate the lead on the 16.5 tires.

Im living in San Diego w 2 kids and wife.   My truck has the 5.9 mpi Magnum gasser trapped in the stodgy old style dodge, its kinda sleeper and fun to drive. 

So far my best options sound like

17 X 9 rims w 3.75 preferred or 4 offset with 35 X 12.5 ATs.  At this point Im probably looking to go less spendy to increase the likelyhood of being able to do more.  Are my hubs bolt pattern whats called 8 X 6.5?  is the 6.5 part the OD of the pattern?

Skyjacker 4 suspension lift kit with maybe 1 body lift.  With fender trimming as needed, but should probably be raked trims off the rear edge for the cool  8)trim.  Never done any fender trimming but I guess I gotta get my feet wet somewhere.

Gears, man I hope I dont need to do that but I have to admit I dont know how big of a deal it is.  Is it a $100, $500, $1,000?...? project?  Difficult or easy?  I may not have a choice since shes already somewhat towing challenged with the small block and a 6500 lb payload.

BONZER

Offline hilton8r

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Re: Hi All, I'm new.
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2012, 10:50:24 PM »
You might want to compare to Hancook tires. I've had them on my dually for a couple of years now, and I love them. They were a lot cheaper than the BFG All T/A KO's. The owner's son at the tire shop I've been going to for the last 20 plus years runs them off road on his FJ. I mention it because in my opinion, they are easier on the wallet and should work great for the trail riding and towing you plan to do. My beef with BFG has always been sidewall strength.

I might also suggest you check Craig's List on a regular basis in case you stumble on a used set of rims/tires you can buy locally. I took a quick look and found a lot of mud tires on there. A little patience, and you will probably score a good deal on some All Terains. I bought my rims new, and picked them up at the Center Line factory. They were over-stock, so I got a decent price. They only offered one offset size. I think you will find that more common rims for more common applications will offer more offset size choices. You just want to avoid a rim and tire combo that is going to protrude too far out past fenders etc.... My old jeep used to throw up a lot of mud/rocks when I tried to back up. Some people install wider fender flares and mud flaps to help with this. I think you will find that the offset size discussed previously will be fine. It doesn't sound like you plan to air down your tires too much, so you don't need to worry about bead locks. They are expensive, but will prevent the tire bead from disengaging from the rim. I don't have them.

Count the number of lug nuts. Dodge had two different spacings for 5 lug applications. Earlier years (pre-80 for 4x4 I believe) were referred to as 5 on 4.5". Later years were referred to as 5 on 5.5". Heavy duty 3/4 ton and 1 ton applications had 8 lugs, and are referred to as 8 on 6.5". You can't just measure from the middle of one lug to the middle of an opposite lug to determine spacing if the number of lugs is odd (You can, but it won't be 4.5" or 5.5", and I can't find my chart that tells me what it would be in each case). I have a chart for that too, but can't find it right now. I believe the spacing refers to the diameter of the lug patter through the center of the studs... Just say Dodge 8 lug, and you should be fine.

A lot of people jump up to beefier axles and gears when something breaks. If you aren't to heavy on the go pedal I don't think you'll have too much trouble with 35's. Anything bigger than a 35" tire, and it's just a matter of time. Lockers are another thing to consider. Sometimes your carrier (pumpkin) limits you on locker/gear selection. In my opinion, you need to put a lot of thought into where you want to be. I went from a 33" tire to a 37" tire. I almost went with a 35" tire, but knew that wasn't my ultimate goal. I learned my lesson previously when I swapped in 3/4 ton running gear in place of the stock running gear. I now have a 1 ton Dana 60 in the garage waiting to replace my Dana 44. If I were smart, I would have bit the bullet and swapped in 1 ton running gear the first time and saved a lot of hassle and money.

Start with the lift, rims, tires, and steering shaft. You'll want to plan this out so you don't drop too much coin and regret even starting. I better go grab a bite to eat before it gets any later. Time flies when you are typing a novel! Take it easy,

John
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 11:05:04 PM by hiltman »
2001 Chevy Silverado 3500 Dually 4x4 6.6L Turbo Diesel (DTD :->)
1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 390
1974 Plymouth Trail Duster 4x4 440
1943 Dodge WC51...

Offline Sten

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Re: Hi All, I'm new.
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2012, 01:06:08 AM »
Here is a lug chart for you! http://www.tirerack.com/wheels/tech/techpage.jsp?techid=92& there isn't a 8 lug but you can see how they measure it in the in the picture. About the gears. You could look below on one of the differential cover bolts, there should be a tag that tells you what gears should be inside if they ain't changed or the tag ain't loosed.
Here an axle guide if you are interested to know. http://coloradok5.com/axleguide.shtml

/Sten
80 Dodge Ramcharger SE 318 modified
99 Harley Davidson FXSTB Night Train customized
01 Chrysler Sebring 2,7
01 Chrysler Sebring 2,7
93 Chevrolet Corsica 3,1 R.I.P.

Offline Bill Cooke

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Re: Hi All, I'm new.
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2012, 10:54:07 AM »
Gears are NOT a DIY project for a first timer. It's too big a learning curve if you do not have an expert there to teach you how. The good news is with Dana 44 and Dana 60 axles you can get parts cheaper and there is no crush sleeve to deal with. Parts are about $300 to $400 for each axle and then labor is generally about $400 to $500 each as well. In SD there are a million good shops that can do gears and some will do them much cheaper. Don't skimp on parts. Cheap gears whine and can wear out pretty fast. Randy's Ring & Pinion is a good source for parts, as is 4 Wheel Parts and ORW. I think ORW is still alive down there.

If you are having a tough time towing already then it makes sense to plan on gears. 4.88 will give you the best performance and rev the engine about 200 rpms more at 65 MPH. Even at 75 you will be doing just under 2500. That is where the 5.9L makes the most power. 4.88 would be about 20% more torque for towing and the tires are only about 10% taller so it's a big improvement.
Checkout this page and play with some numbers.  RPM/ Gear Calculator   35" tires are actually about 34.5" tall. I think the Getrag 5 speed had a 5th gear that was .69 but not sure. Might want to double check that.


Checkout http://www.justruns.com and sign up at Yahoo Groups. They are the largest off-road club in San Diego and anyone can join. No meetings, no dues, no politics and no BS, Just Runs! The members are very friendly and helpful and they know every shop and mechanic in the county. If you want to find anything in San Diego you ask them.

Also, I'm in South Orange County. That's not too far up the 5 for you. If you want to take a drive up here I might be able to help you cut the fenders at some point.

Bill Cooke
Jeep is hobby, Dodge is a sickness!